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Saturday, 14 June 2014

As UK hosted the End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit, the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2014 was launched my ministers. Below is the speech and remarks of the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening.

As you’ve just heard from the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary, the National Action Plan we are launching today puts women and girls at the centre of cross-government efforts to prevent, resolve and respond to conflict.
It draws together our security, foreign policy and development work and provides a real vision for Government and our partners, for meeting the needs of women and girls in fragile and conflict affected states.
And I want to thank all of the people who have worked so hard to bring this plan together. I believe it has the potential to change the lives of generations of girls and women around the world and can also build a far more peaceful world for all of us.
We have been hearing throughout this summit of the devastating effect that conflict has on women and girls and how it affects them in particular ways. 
It’s well documented how sexual violence against women becomes another weapon of war in armed conflicts…
And this violence spills over into societies post-conflict to make women and girls vulnerable to violence and abuse in their own homes and communities.
Because women are traditionally carers, the loss of breadwinners and the destruction of their homes during conflict takes a particularly heavy financial toll, as well as an emotional toll.
Women and girls also face particular barriers and discrimination to getting jobs, training, capital, services, credit and land in a post-conflict world.
And sexual exploitation, trafficking and early and forced marriage invariably increases as a result of displacement and economic hardship.
The result is that women and girls fall more deeply into the poverty they knew before the war began.
This is a bleak picture but take a look at what happens when you do invest in girls and women and prioritise their needs.
We know that gender equality has been linked to improved economic and development outcomes for countries…to more rapid recovery and poverty reduction post-conflict. And it has also been correlated with lower levels of violence and less likelihood of intra- and interstate conflict.
Quite simply when you invest in girls and women a far brighter picture emerges for them and their countries.
And yet, despite commitments made at the UN Security Council through resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, we know that women continue to be excluded from peace negotiations and other key political processes post-conflict.
This has to change. Without gender equality we will not have sustainable peace. Girls and women have a critical role to play in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development.
That is why, as you’ve heard today - empowering women and girls and ensuring that they are able to take part in the social, economic, political and civil processes that affect them is a core part of the UK’s ambition to build a sustainable, positive peace in the countries where we work.
My Department plays a critical role in this. No country can truly develop if it leaves half its population behind and DFID puts girls and women at the heart of everything that we do.
We are helping women around the world get access to education, financial services, health services and family planning.
We are also giving girls and women a voice in their communities by helping more women to build networks and political know-how, to vote – as in Afghanistan - and to ensure equal legal rights and greater access to justice.
And we are scaling up our work on preventable violence against girls and women. For example in Afghanistan we recently announced a new £18.5 million fund to help women get access to justice and raise public awareness of women’s rights.
The new three-year National Action Plan pulls all of this work together, alongside the work of the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.
And ensures we have a comprehensive, cross-Government approach to meeting the specific needs of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict states and that takes into account gender differences and the different challenges and opportunities faced by women and girls.
It will also provide the cross-government framework to take forward the actions we have identified at this Summit.
I look forward to working with my colleagues over the next three years to put this plan into action…
All of it will - bit by bit – help to bring about change for the better.
By working together I believe we can ensure a better future for girls and women and in doing so we can ensure a better, more peaceful future for their countries too, and for all of us.

The action plan covers a great detail on the UK's statement of intent on women, peace and security, getting the UK's Government's approach right, and international partnerships with a framework. Full plan below:

Blog attributed from the Gov.UK


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